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Trade Routes: Value Innovation

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 4

Thomas Edison said invention was “one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Creativity precedes innovation. Creativity is what you think. Innovation is what you do. In today’s cosmetic business, both creativity and innovation are needed, but there also is a need to develop a systematic approach for each.

Systematic Creativity

Time. Do you set aside time to search for creative solutions to consumer needs? It is hard to be creative on demand, but two things happen when the necessary time is devoted for it: first, pressure fires up creative juices; second, you subconsciously keep thinking about the creative challenges. Unorthodoxy. Do you challenge the “articles of faith” of your industry?

Look at nonrelated industries. For example, GE doesn’t sell jet engines, it sells pounds of thrust that its customers want in the first place. In other words, it sells the result, not the means. Customers don’t buy products or services—they buy expectations of desired results. What do you sell to your cosmetic customers—the means, or the end result? Which has more value for the customer?

Are you accepting traditional industry definitions? Why not challenge them instead? For example, packaging is viewed as a means to protect cosmetic products and enhance their appearance. The industry spends billions on packaging that for the most part is thrown away. But, what if it could become part of the end result? The purpose of cosmetics is to beautify. How can packaging contribute value to that end?

Are you adding value at every level of the customer relationship? Why does the customer have to go to a store, or order online or by telephone? Could certain beauty products be sold by vending machines? How about kiosks? Ice cream is sold from trucks that roam neighborhoods. What would be the beauty product equivalent?

Systematic Innovation